Kids get plugged into time slots just like parents. We enroll our children in activities and their schedules appear as rigorous as those of high-powered executives with a staff of administrators. Our kids, however, lack a staff to orchestrate their lives; they need us: the moms and families who make it all happen.
This can cause moms to feel pulled in seventeen different directions at once, balancing our own obligations while also working to make sure our kids get what they need for success. What can we do to change this?
Consider limiting children to one activity a season. Sure, it means they give up something else, but think of how much time would be found in your days and weeks! Can’t choose just one favorite lesson or sport? Do more than one, but look at the activities you select. Make sure they appeal to your child for reasons that make sense, not just because the activity comes with a feeling of obligation or that you “should” participate.
Perhaps activities could get rotated by seasons instead of signing up for everything at once? Maybe one activity happens all year long, but others get rotated. Knowing spring works for dance lessons and soccer happens in the fall could keep schedules under control and maybe create an atmosphere of anticipation for certain after-school obligations.
Does putting limits on sports or other enrichments seem too difficult? Does the schedule seem necessary for all the right reasons? Schedule activities for your family and also schedule time for doing absolutely nothing. Give your kids the opportunity to stare at clouds, daydream a little, figure out how to just hang out for a while and see what they discover. Playing, exploring, lounging, and just being “unscheduled” takes getting used to for some families, but perhaps once the newness wears off, you all may find how much you enjoy it.
Enjoy your new-found, unscheduled time!